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Are You Informed About Driving Under the Influence?

The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes in the United States is more than $44 billion, but studies continuously find that the average American Citizen doesn’t know enough about the dangers and risk factors of driving under the influence, as well as the effects of increasing Blood Alcohol Content.

Though drink driving has decreased by about 50% since the 1980’s, there is still a lot of unnecessary damage that could be prevented by good information, so here’s a small information guide to help you brush up on the topic.

The Extent of the Problem

Alcohol impaired driving crashes account for 28% of all traffic related deaths in the United States, and the level of self-reported drunk driving episodes among American Adults has fluctuated between 111 million and 161 million incidences since 1993. Ask about it – if you have friends in the police force they’ll be able to tell you that over 1 million drivers are arrested every year, which is less than 1% of the total incidences if the self-reports are accurate (keep in mind that self-reports typically give an underestimation of a problem).

Needless to say, it’s a problem that touches many Americans deeply, and the vast majority are not in support. If you’re one of those Americans, informing yourself and people that you know about the truths of the issue, can bethe best thing you can do to help prevent it.

Types of DUI

When you hear of DUI charges, you might have heard of the term ‘aggravated’. According to Mesa DUI attorney Jackson White, aggravated DUI charges aren’t based on the blood alcohol content of the driver, but they are elevated DUIs caused by the driver causing property damage, injury or death; driving with somebody under the age of 15; or if the driver doesn’t have a legitimate license or does have a history of crime and DUIs.

Aggravated DUIs are a very serious offence, and due to the public opinion on the matter, they require the individual being charged to have a very experienced and assertive lawyer on their side to make sure that the outcome is fair and just.

Risk Factors

Though driving under the influence can impact anybody, there are some groups that are particularly at risk. Young people are more at risk, and the risk of being involved in a crash is far greater for the young than for more experienced drivers. Motorcyclists are also more at risk, but those aged 35-39 have the highest mortality rate with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08% or greater. Those with prior DUI convictions are also 4.5 times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.

Blood Alcohol Concentration – What Does it Mean?

Blood alcohol concentration confusion might account for several instances of DUI, so it’s very good to be aware of how the amount you drink can impair you. This table gives you an idea of how as little as 2 drinks can impact you.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Effects on Individuals Effects on Driving
0.02% – 2 alcoholic drinks in an hour Moderate loss of judgment, relaxation, mood changes Poorer visual ability, poorer divided attention
0.05% – 3 alcoholic drinks Exaggerations, poorer control of small muscles (e.g. those that focus your eyes), poorer judgment, lowered alertness, lower inhibitions Poorer coordination, poorer ability to track that which is moving in your environment, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergencies
0.08% – 4 alcoholic drinks Poor balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing with impaired judgment, self-control, reasoning and memory Poor concentration, short-term memory loss, poor speed control, impaired ability to detect signals
0.1% – 5 alcoholic drinks Obviously impacted control and reaction time, typically slurred speech, slowed thinking, poor coordination Much harder to brake appropriately and stay in lane.
0.15% – 7 alcoholic drinks Very bad muscle control, vomiting may occur, major balance loss. Majorly impaired control, attention and visual/auditory processing

Many people are surprised about how little alcohol it takes to impact driving ability. One alcoholic drink is equivalent to one ‘shot’ of 40% alcohol content spirits or liquor. The current law prohibits driving at a BAC of 0.08%, and there have been increased levels of sobriety checkpoints and health promotion efforts to prevent driving under the influence.

It seems that information is the most powerful driving force in reducing the incidence of intoxicated driving, like with many health-related social issues lack of awareness is a great culprit. Be sure to tell all your friends and family as well, as in the case of preventing drink driving, every little bit of information helps.

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